A central key to staying youthful is moving your body. Exercise helps you manage your weight, increase bone density, maintain muscle mass and flexibility, all of which are harder to maintain with age. Exercise energizes you, boosts your mood and keeps you from acquiring that stiffness and stooped gait that telegraphs aging. And, if you exercise at a gym, it improves your social life, too.
Stretch Your Soul
Reduce stress and elevate your mood with regular walks in nature. Volunteer for any of our nearly 2,000 nonprofit organizations. Take up pickleball, enroll in an improv comedy class at Florida Studio Theatre, join a club—we have hundreds of them here. The first—and hardest—step is to make pleasure a priority.
Protect Your Skin
If learning that skin cancer is diagnosed 5 million times every year in the U.S. isn’t enough to have you running for a tube of sunscreen, consider this: Nothing accelerates aging more than being out in the sun. How much sunscreen should you use to block out those evil UV rays? A shot glass full of SPF 30, say the experts. And be sure to reapply it often, especially if you’ve been in the water. Look for brands that have zinc oxide as the active ingredient.
Get Your Shut-Eye
Sleep doctors say that seven or more hours a night of actual shut-eye, not just time in bed, is essential. Even short amounts of sleep deprivation lead to more heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. It affects every part of your body. For example, skin grows much faster while you’re asleep—something of interest to anyone who wants fresh-looking, healthy skin.
Focus on Balance
Improving your balance will help keep you from being one of the 2.8 million older adults who each year are treated for broken limbs, pelvises, hips and other fall-related injuries. Try a balance movement class; the Friendship Centers, with locations in Sarasota and Venice, offer classes that teach participants how to walk properly and what to do if they fall. Or try yoga or tai chi—both involve movements that keep you steady and flexible.